Sunday morning and I’m heading further away from my coffee and brunch in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Having promised myself that I’d be back in Sydney by 10am I now find myself following the white van ahead of me on the road, deeper into hard core rock climbing country (well that’s my assessment anyway).
Hugh’s convinced me to join him, James and Aido (almost everybody in Australia has to have a name that ends in o!) on a trip to Cosmic rock face near Bell. James and Hugh have both sold their wives a “well be home mid afternoon” story and the scene is set for a quick walk to the rock face, followed by a quick climb and and even quicker return walk to the cars and trip back home. What could possibly go wrong?
The quick walk to the rock face was without incident, a quick assessment of the rock and James and Aido are around the corner and already halfway up their “warmup climb”. Hugh is ready to go so I’m belayer and then he’s away, up a simple grade 16 for his warmup. Grumble, groan, “fat tubby climber” the utterings from above dissipate as he’s out of earshot and then it’s “on belay”. Hang on, I’m here to take photo’s and try out the new camera gear that’s I’ve just had delivered – Hugh you’ve got this wrong! “Come on Gav it would be silly to miss the opportunity while you’re here”.
So not wanting to be the one who goes home without getting off ground level I agree to give it a go. Now I’m a social grade 14-15 climber so with effort beyond that that should be required I make the first 3-4 metres before taking a not very spectacular fall. Nobody’s watching, so with a few good yanks on the draws I’m above the crux and moving up the incline slab – probably not that smoothly but with sufficient pace to reach the top without to much heckling from Hugh.
From there things go to plan. James does a quick climb of the Toyland route, takes a whipper near the top but does close it out. Hugh does the same, well OK – a few more off wall experiences than James and then Aido shows us all how it’s done by moving fly like from ground to rings at the top without a miss. James comes close a second time but then “my heel slipped” and he’s come of just short of the top again. Aido pulls a very smooth lap up the route to the right of Toyland and then James closes out the afternoon with a near perfect run up Toyland.
The weather’s been fantastic, the climbing great and the results prove it. But it’s 3:30pm and any chance of delivering on the “home by mid afternoon” have been shot to pieces.
Gear stowed and Hugh’s setting a fast pace back to the cars.
“Thanks guys, great day, catch you later in the week” – there’s no time for any discussion and the cars are reversing out of the car park and heading back toward Blackheath.
And for me what was the most daunting part of the day? Well after giving James grief about the most inefficient jumar technique ever witnessed I realised that I had to repeat the effort to take some photo’s from the top myself. What if my technique was worse than James? Thanks for the compliment Aido – I’ll pay for the coffee next time we meet.
Oh and James, next time you offer to buy the coffee – make sure you have some money in your pocket!
Great day guys – thanks for the invite.
VIEW a short video of the climbing – click here
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